Bashi's journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come

28 Oct 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Somali youthYoung Somali men participate in a vocational training and education program in Burao, Somaliland. But as Africa’s population grows, the number of people escaping conflict in countries like Somalia will continue to rise. Photo: UNDP Somalia
Bashi, a young man who fled from conflict in Somalia, is one of many Africans making the journey to Europe for a better life. … Read more

How are all countries, rich and poor, to define poverty?

16 Oct 2015 by Alessandra Casazza, Programme Advisor for MDGs/SDGs, UNDP

In Rwanda, a woman works in her tailoring shop. The World Bank recently updated the absolute poverty line to US$1.90 a day, reflecting changes in the average price of the goods and services people require in 15 developing countries, including Rwanda. Photo: Alice Kayibanda/UNDP Rwanda
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our new development compass. Its 17 goals and 169 targets provide countries – rich and poor – with the coordinates of the new ‘development north’, which more than 190 countries have committed to reach in the next 15 years. As of 1 January 2016, countries, like big vessels, will begin sailing towards this new development north from different harbors. But how will they calibrate their ‘navigation instruments’ to set their course? The 2030 Agenda is very clear in this respect. Paragraph 55 reads: ‘[…] Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each Government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances.’ As an example, let us consider Sustainable Development Goal 1: ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’. … Read more

Migrant remittances are a lifeline for families, and a force for development

15 Oct 2015 by Ben Slay, Senior Economist and Mihail Peleah, Programme Specialist in Green Economy and Employment

A worker in TajikistanRelative to GDP, remittances flowing into Tajikistan are among the largest in the world. Photo: Mashid Mohadjerin
With an influx of refugees and migrants making headlines in Europe and politicians around the world debating the merits of immigration, it’s important to take a step back and consider the development impact migration has for both sending countries and host nations. International labour migration has become a key driver of development around the world. One way migration impacts development is through the accompanying remittances, the money sent by migrant workers (and diasporas) to relatives back home. … Read more

Looking to 2030 from the path of the Millennium Development Goals

06 Oct 2015 by Gonzalo Pizarro, Policy Specialist, Millennium Development Goals and Human Development, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean and Diana Costa, Consultant, Sustainable Development, UNDP

Guatemalan womanIf current trends continue, the region as a whole is on track to achieve many MDG goals. Photo: Carolina Trutmann/UNDP Guatemala
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. Last week, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its future development agenda through the year 2030. “Ours can be the first generation to end poverty,” the UN Secretary-General has declared. In Latin America and the Caribbean, will we in fact be the first generation that eliminates extreme poverty while simultaneously reducing the inequalities that have historically thwarted development here in this region? … Read more

How can mining contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?

05 Oct 2015 by Gillian Davidson, Lisa Sachs and Casper Sonesson

A miner in DRC.A worker at a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With meaningful engagement, mining companies could become partners in achieving the SDGs. UNDP Photo
The heads of 193 UN member states have now signed on to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be the shared global development framework for the coming generation. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries. And through partnerships with government and civil society, they can ensure that benefits of mining extend beyond the life of the mine itself, so that the mining industry has a positive impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital. … Read more

South-South cooperation brings strong partnerships to the new development agenda

24 Sep 2015 by Xiaojun Grace Wang, Lead Adviser, South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

South Sudanese menSouth Sudanese attend a planning workshop in Juba. UNDP supports Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to send civil servants for two-year terms in South Sudan to provide peer coaching to their counterparts. Photo: Jennifer Warren/UNDP
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” The new sustainable development agenda recognizes the importance of partnerships to achieving the Global Goals. This agenda presents the opportunity for a new and inclusive global partnership, of which South-South Cooperation (SSC) forms an integral part. South-South Cooperation (SSC) is the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between countries of the global South. It’s about developing countries extending helping hands to each other to tackle development challenges together. … Read more

Cities will be big winners in 2015

21 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

Kathmandu after the earthquakeDharahara, Kathmandu after earthquake in April 2015. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi /UNDP Nepal
In just a few days, the international community will meet in New York to finalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In doing so, countries will roll out the path forward for the next 15 years. With a human population that is increasingly urban, a focus on cities and settlements is not only welcome but necessary. Having seen first-hand the fragility of many of our cities, I am thrilled that Goal 11 focuses on urban resilience. … Read more

Protecting and ensuring space for civil society

14 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

 For an individual to fully belong to and be recognized in society they must have the most basic legal documentation to which they are entitled by law. Sri Lankans register for birth certificates and National Identiy Cards (NIC) at a mobile legal aid clinic. Photo: UNDP in Sri Lanka
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy, “Making Space for Civil Society”, is extremely timely. Reports by many civil society organisations and networks – many of which are echoed in the recently released State of Civil Society Report 2015 by CIVICUS – point to the worrying number of at least 96 countries where serious threats to civic freedoms were reported in 2014. The scale and the depth of these threats is of great concern. I agree with UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Committee, whose “first and foremost concern is the shrinking legal, policy and participatory space for civil society activists and organizations, in an increasing number of countries across regions and political regimes.” While it was once true that countries in crisis and post-conflict periods are the ones where civil societies have been most at risk, we now see similar threats spreading across a range of development contexts. … Read more

Becoming the Zero Hunger generation: Achieving food security for all

14 Sep 2015 by Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals Fund

Farmers in MadagascarIncreasing agricultural productivity, especially on small and family farms, is key to ensuring food security. Photo: UNDP Madagascar
As we approach the UN Sustainable Development Summit, when world leaders will come together to adopt a new global development agenda, it is critically important that we keep what is at stake firmly in sight. A central issue like hunger, which is a long standing development priority, remains an everyday battle for almost 795 million people worldwide. While this figure is 216 million less than in 1990-92, according to UN statistics, hunger kills more people every year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. … Read more

If you want it done, take action

12 Aug 2015 by Lei Phyu, Communications & Social Media Analyst, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

young Syrian womanYouth participate in a rubbish removal initiative in As-Salamieh, Syria. Photo: UNDP Syria
It pains me when people on social media comment that everyday civic engagement isn’t their responsibility and should be solely the work of governments and the UN. Civic engagement is defined as “individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.” We don’t all need to be leaders, but we should all take part in our society. If we get a cut, do we treat ourselves right away or do we wait for a leader to bring us a Band-Aid? If we want an improvement in our community done right, our way, why shouldn’t we take initiative rather wait for permission from a leader to do it for us? … Read more